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North Saanich council votes to close Wain Road pickleball courts on May 7

Mayor Peter Jones urges closure saying noise mitigation too expensive
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North Saanich’s Wain Road outdoor pickleball courts are to be closed on May 7. (Black Press Media file photo)

North Saanich council voted on Monday (April 29) to close the Wain Road pickleball courts and organized opposition is mounting.

Council made the decision to close the facility after district staff gave recommendations to reduce the noise coming from the courts. The cost of these mitigations was just too much for some councillors.

Mayor Peter Jones introduced the motion to close the courts on May 7, and to slap a padlocked gate on the facility, instead of spending money to try to reduce noise.

“My belief there is that open courts in North Saanich simply don’t work because of the noise mitigation,” Jones said. “And if there is noise mitigation available, it is extremely expensive.”

Opposition to the closures has grown since the Monday meeting. A Change.org petition started by Victoria’s Cailyn Wolski to keep the courts open had 720 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

“We believe there has been a lack of transparency and consideration for broader public input into this decision making process,” reads the petition. “Proven economical solutions such as those implemented at Carnarvon Park, Oak Bay pickleball courts have been ignored.”

Other local residents who use the courts have begun sending emails to councillors and to media.

Ardmore resident Frank Gee expressed in one such email how upset he was the closure was announced on such short notice just as the summer season is nearing.

“This sudden closure notice is completely unreasonable and disrespectful to users,” Gee wrote. “Shame on you, Mr. Mayor and Councillors.”

The only councillor to oppose the closure was Jack McClintock, who said he would not be supporting the motion despite acknowledging that when courts were initially approved he did not know how noisy pickleball is, but that without a suitable alternative a closure would be a disservice to the community.

“To take away a recreational facility from a large group of our residents is improper,” he said.

READ MORE: Pickleball blowing up in Greater Victoria – along with efforts to dampen noise

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About the Author: Mark Page

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